Doris Kearns Goodwin Biography

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of historical biographies
Born: 1/4/1943
Birthplace: Rockville Centre, New York

Goodwin has won wide praise for her meticulous, in-depth research and her ability to chronicle both the public and private lives of her subjects.

As a graduate student at Harvard University in 1967, Goodwin won a White House fellowship and served as special assistant to Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz. Earlier in the year she wrote an article for the New Republic that was critical of President Johnson. The piece caught the attention of Johnson, and he offered her a position as his special assistant. The two formed a close bond, and when Johnson decided not to run for reelection, he asked Goodwin to help him pen his memoir, The Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency 1963–1969 (1971). For three years, she juggled her responsibilities with Johnson in Texas and her teaching post at Harvard. She parlayed her experience as Johnson's friend and aide, along with extensive research into the critically and commercially acclaimed Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream (1976).

In 1975 she married Richard Goodwin, a lawyer and a speechwriter for President John Kennedy. They had two sons. While she was bringing up her children, Goodwin began a book on President Kennedy. The project was 10 years in the making, and expanded to cover not only the president, but also his Irish-American ancestors. The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys was published in 1987 and was made into an ABC miniseries in 1990. The Kennedy book was the center of a storm of plagiarism charges in 2002.

She won the Pulitzer Prize in history for 1994's No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II.

A lifelong baseball fan, Goodwin was interviewed extensively in Ken Burns's documentary Baseball. In 1997, she chronicled her devotion to the Brooklyn Dodgers in the book Wait Till Next Year. She regularly appeared on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.